Location: Cardigan, Ceredigion, Wales.
Built: 13th century
Ownership / Access: --
Opening Times: Check their website for more info.
Price of Admission: Check their website for more info.
Notes: Cardigan Castle is a castle located in Cardigan, Ceredigion, Wales. the first motte-and-bailey castle (ca.1093) was built a mile away from the present site, probably about the time of the founding of the town by Roger de Montgomery, a Norman baron. The forerunner of the present castle was built by Gilbert Fitz Richard Lord of Clare after the former was destroyed. The castle was handed down to Gilbert's son, Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke in 1136. The same year, Owain Gwynedd led the defeat of the Norman rulers in the town of Cardigan at the Battle of Crug Mawr. The town was taken and burnt, though the castle was successfully defended by Normans commanded by Robert fitz Martin. The castle was later recaptured by the Normans, and was held for Earl Roger of Hertford. In 1166 it was captured by Rhys ap Gruffydd, who rebuilt it in stone in 1171. In 1176 the first ever Eisteddfod was held at the castle. After Rhys's death in 1197 his sons, Maelgwn and Gruffydd, disputed their inheritance resulting in Maelgwn surrendering Gruffydd to the Normans and selling the castle to King John. The castle was later held for William Marshall. Llywelyn the Great captured it in 1215 and at the parliament held at Aberdovey in 1216 made it over to the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, but in 1223 William Marshall the Younger recaptured it. In 1231 the castle was again captured for Llywelyn by Rhys Gryg and his allies. Llywelyn held it until his death in 1240. On Llywelyn's death it fell back into Norman hands, and in 1244 Earl Gilbert of Pembroke rebuilt it with town walls for added protection. It is the remains of this building that still stands overlooking the river. It was badly damaged during the English Civil War in Wales and until the 18th century it was only used as a prison. Sometime between 1805-08 the castle owner, John Bowen, arranged the construction of Castle Green House within the castle walls. The front range was added in 1827. In 1940 the castle and house was bought by Barbara Wood, daughter of a shipping magnate, who moved into Castle Green House with her mother. This fell into disrepair in the 1940s and was allowed to decay further by the owner to the extent that the outer walls needed supporting. Miss Woods continued to occupy the castle for almost 60 years, despite attempts by the local authority to take over the castle in 1971 and Castle Green House being declared unfit for human habitation in 1984.
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